Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Warmer New Year's Eve in Phuket, Thailand

The opposite of spending New Year's Eve in Lapland was spending this last one in tropical Thailand. Specifically we were on the very south tip of Phuket Island, in the town of Rawai. That morning after breakfast at our villa, we met our hired longtail boat driver (who we reserved the day before), and had a quick ride out to Bon Island.
Our driver let us off after we agreed on a pick up time for later in the afternoon. Bon Island is tiny and uninhabited except for an outdoor restaurant that sets up daily for lunch. Every day the owner Dawn, a British transplant to Phuket, comes over by longtail with her crew. They bring everything they'll need to open and run the restaurant for lunch; fresh fish, beverages, ice, etc. The island has no electricity- they have a generator for some kitchen equipment- and the open-air restaurant is the only building so nothing is left after hours.

There were a few people when we arrived but they left shortly after, and a small group on a tour came a bit later. But all in all it was incredibly peaceful. We just had to share space with the Hermit crabs.

The island has two beaches, one quite rocky but also protected from the wind and waves. The nicer beach had a larger surf that day but was less rocky and easier to swim in. We sunbathed a bit, swam a bit, dozed under the coconut trees, and then grabbed a table in the restaurant when Dawn and her team were set up.
Our lunch was made up of piña coladas, beers, fresh fish with garlic, chilis, and herbs, green papaya salad, and prawns. Everything was simple but quite good. It's really just a little beach shack and a nice place to get away to for a few hours.

After lunch our driver came and picked us up for our short ride back over the bay. If you're looking for a spot for a casual, toes-in-the-sand kind of quick get away, I'd recommend a ride to Ko Bon. (Ko means island in Thai)
photo courtesy of Forest Collins
Back on the main island we had planned to check out Karon Beach for the afternoon, but after circling the town multiple times in search of parking we decided it was too busy and we headed to the smaller beach Kata, just south of Karon. This was absolutely perfect! We easily found street parking and on our way to the beach passed a banana pancake vendor- it was our first taste of the completely addictive snack on the trip!

The beach was beautiful, busy but not over run. We swam in the warm water and soaked up some sun. Forest and I decided to go have an hour foot massage at one of the places just across from the beach (which cost us 300 Baht or $9). We met the guys back on the beach and bobbed around in the surf as the sun started to sink.
photo courtesy of Forest Collins
We drove back at our villa and had aperos with champagne in the pool. Well I was in the pool! Fireworks were going off all around in our neighborhood. Then we got cleaned up and headed to Rawai beach for more champagne, grilled skewers from a street vendor, and fireworks at a sea side restaurant called Nikka.  It was warm, the breeze smelled of the tropics, and there was sand everywhere. We headed home to drink more champagne, so that part is not totally the opposite of Lapland!

All Phuket photos here